As a business owner, it’s hard to find enough time in the day to get everything done. From managing your team to guiding the trajectory of your business, it feels like you’re constantly bouncing from task to task but never really getting as much done as you need to and want to.
By putting a solid time management system in place, you can automate as much as possible, so you can focus your brain power on the activities that truly need your attention. The following seven tips can help you to establish a system that works for you and will help you to take back your very valuable time, so you can be even more productive, and increase your overall success.
- Use Time Blocking on Your Calendar
It can be very easy to be pulled in multiple directions throughout the day and try to multitask your way through a never-ending to-do list. By using time blocking [read my time blocking article] for specific activities each day, you can focus on one thing at a time. For example, if you block off 11:00am to 11:30am to catch up on and respond to emails, then do your best to NOT check emails for the rest of the day. If you need to, you can have two (or more, depending on your needs) time slots for emails throughout the day. I strongly recommend that you don’t have the “check email” time block as the first activity you do each day of the work week.
You can also use time blocking to dedicate specific days of the week to certain areas of your business. For example, Mondays could be for reaching out to new partners or vendors, Fridays could be a strategy day, Wednesdays could be for client acquisition and revenue generation activities.
Time blocking helps you to group tasks by projects or task type, so you can focus on one type of task at a time. If you’re responsible for content creation, such as writing blog posts, it may be easier to knock out a couple of posts within an hour than to do one blog post and then shift your mindset to working on company finances. In other words, do as many similar activities together as possible for maximum time efficiency.
Having a set schedule that includes when to work on certain activities, whether it’s written or on your phone, saves you from taking time to think about what to work on next, which is wasting time. All you have to do is check your schedule and get to the next task! Simply put, if your calendar could talk, assuming you have the “right” activities on it, it would tell you what to do and when, and you would say Okay!
Did you know that some of the most productive people in the world swear by time blocking? Ever heard of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Michael Hyatt, or Cal Newport? Yep – all time-blockers. They’re squeezing every drop of productivity from their days, and you can too.
- Identify When You’re Most Productive
Being productive means making the most of your time. If you’re an early riser but move slowly in the mornings, it might be best to schedule your focus time in the afternoons. Mornings can be saved for working out, or more passive tasks like strategic thinking, or writing in your gratitude journal.
Or maybe you get the most done early in the morning. Knock off priority tasks in the morning and take the rest of the day for creating marketing ideas or tasks you can move slower on.
Similarly, identify when you’re most creative. Set aside time each week to dive into deep work, or innovative tasks that move the needle for your business.
- Track Your Time
The best way to manage your time is by tracking it. We often don’t realize where our time goes, but by tracking your time, you can see exactly how you’re spending it. Even if your time isn’t billable, it’s a good practice, at least initially, to get an overview of your day and where your time goes, so that you can adjust it accordingly.
There are plenty of free apps and tools you can use to track your time, including Toggl or Clockify.
You may be able to find areas of your business where you can delegate even more to others by tracking your time, so you are focused on doing only what you can do and can’t be done by anyone else. For example, if you work on something that consistently takes up the majority of your day, it might be time (pun intended) to let that go and delegate it to someone else who can work on it more efficiently. It’s not a bad thing to be able to do so, as you can focus on using your strengths to grow your business!
To download my complimentary Time Log Exercise and help you and your team members be even more time efficient, so you are in a higher probability position to achieve your goals, go to: https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/time-log/. Simple instructions come with the exercise to help you know how to complete the time log. I recommend everyone in your firm do this exercise for two weeks at least twice a year. You can gain a lot of insight from this exercise that will help everyone be even more time efficient.
Download my Free Delegation Exercise to help you identify even more activities to delegate, by going to https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/delegation-list-sample/.
- Plan Your Week Ahead of Time
The best way to hit the ground running on a Monday morning is to plan your week ahead. Block off some time on Friday afternoon to plan for the upcoming week. Make sure your meetings are scheduled, you’ve blocked off time to focus on certain initiatives, and leave flexible time for anything urgent that may come up.
If you use a meeting booking app like Calendly, make sure it’s up to date with your schedule, so you don’t get double-booked. Things are inevitably going to come up that are out of your control. By planning ahead, you will be more prepared to deal with urgent issues and can move around other activities on your schedule in the moment.
- Remove All Technological Distractions
Distractions are all around us, especially with notifications on our phones and watches. One tip that’s super helpful is to physically remove all technological distractions from your vicinity. That may mean taking off your watch and putting it in the next room, or silencing your phone and putting it face down, so you don’t see the notifications go off.
Make sure to communicate with team members when your offline time is. If you need to concentrate on something in particular, ask them not to reach out between a certain time frame unless it’s about an urgent matter. Being a business owner doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be on, all the time. It’s important to set boundaries and be an example of that to the rest of your team.
- Automate as Much as You Can
There are many tools and apps out there now that can help you automate a lot of your processes. You no longer have to write and send emails the day of—you can write them ahead of time and schedule them to be sent at an optimal time and day. The more you can automate, the less time you have to spend on manual work.
For example, you can use chatbots to automate client service inquiries, or an automatic booking service that sends out a welcome email upon confirmation of booking. Even simple extensions like Boomerang for Gmail allow you to schedule your emails to be sent later.
- Schedule Some Downtime into Your Day
This seems counterintuitive—schedule relaxation and rejuvenation time? But how are you supposed to get your work done? Scheduling downtime can ensure you are intentional about taking a break and focusing when you need to focus. More importantly, having time to rest throughout the day, even for 15 minutes at a time, allows you to maintain a healthy relationship with your work and keeps you from burning out.
Taking breaks during the day could actually lead to increased focus and productivity, as you’ll be more dedicated to accomplishing your tasks after you’ve been able to rest.
In summary, you can save time throughout your day by utilizing tips such as time blocking on your calendar, automating as much as you can, and removing technological or other distractions that surround you. These seven tips will get you started and help you to save time as you grow your business. With more insights into where your time is going, you can figure out how to be as effective with your valuable time as possible.
Do you feel like your business has plateaued or you are sick and tired of being sick and tired? Could you use a shot in the arm to make even more progress on your goals? Consider working with The Accountability Coach. I’m here to help you accelerate your results, so you can enjoy your ideal business and ideal life!
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